Lonely Melville

The Ant
- 6 October 2013 -

Photography Melville Flats

I have been planning to visit Melville for quite some time, so Sunday I whipped out my GPS and headed in the direction. One would think that I would know how to get there on my own, but apparently technology has made me forgot where places are.

I left for Melville at about 11:30 and was in the small suburb within 30 minutes. I felt a little out of place, but started taking photos anyway.

Melville Corridors Photography

Melville is a old suburb close to the Johannesburg CBD and very close to the University of the Witwatersrand. It is an old suburb where some of the old houses have been converted to restaurants and small shops especially around 7th street. The neighbourhood seems to consist of young and old people, but the evenings really liven up, where the youth flirt, party and socialise.

I browsed around in the streets where most of the activity was, but it was Sunday midday and things were a bit dead. I wandered down one street where I was greeted by 2 young fellows from the second floor of their apartment. Clearly they were still partying from the night before, but they liked the idea of me taking photos of them, so I took advantage.

Street Photography Melville

Melville Street Photography

An hour had already passed and I wasn't getting many photos, my idea was to get people and there weren't many of them around. My plan was that I would hang around until sunset because then the light would be best and I would be familiar with the streets, but I was getting tired of walking around with little results, so I spotted an interesting restaurant.... "The Ant".... quite appropriate as generally my friends call me "Ant".... I thought I would give it a try.

Melville Streets The Ant

Melville The Ant

I first sat outside and had a Coke, but due to some interesting decor I was tempted to go explore more of the establishment. Around the back of they have a patio outside and a wood pizza oven that smelt pretty good.

Fine Art Photography Melville The Ant

I landed up taking a seat in a small hallway with a skylight above my table. I was still playing with my camera so this was an ideal spot.

I soon started paying attention to the crowds and the other customers around me, some old and some young, but a lot of gay people. I was feeling a bit lonely and although I have no problem with other peoples preferences and cultural decisions, I wasn't expecting to mingle or meet some friends. Generally when I go out to take some photos I go alone, there is something distracting about having someone accompany me during the process, even if it is another photographer. One would think I would be used to this already. 

I have pondered on the feeling of loneliness before and how social us humans actually are. I can imagine that if I had to find myself in a world where suddenly there is nobody but me, my primary objective would be to stay alive, but once I have found food and shelter, my next instinct would be to find company, most specifically to find other people. Suddenly fancy cars, houses and all the luxuries that we currently fight so hard for, would become irrelevant, because what is the use of having all of this when we have no one to share it with. It is also interesting to me that race, sex and religion would also become an arbitrary factor when seeking this little bit of company, suddenly all the boundaries that currently separate us as a species, would disappear and to speak to someone, even in the most un-connected sense would be a treasure more valuable than gold, diamonds or oil.

Photography Melville The Ant

After I had some excellent coffee and I had placed an order for an "authentic pizza". My loneliness subsided and I was once again intrigued by my surroundings. I read somewhere a quote (I can't remember where) "there is a thin line between boredom and hunger" so possibly "there is a thin line between the anticipation of food and loneliness"....

Melville The Ant Painting

Photography The Ant

The Ant is a really interesting place, with really good food, interesting people and very well thought out decorations..... After I had filled my stomach and messed around with my camera, I didn't really feel like sticking around for another three and a half hours, so I just headed home.

Decor The Ant Photography

I will go back to Melville again, but this time I will leave home a little later so I can catch the good light without getting bored (or lonely) first.

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